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Most Useful Amazon Mechanisms

Over the last few months I’ve talked with many former Amazonians about what they think the most impactful and useful mechanisms are that they have taken to their new companies. The results have been very consistent:

  • Written Narratives (aka No PowerPoint!): having employees provide written proposals, status reports, and other documents to better distill thought and focus conversations.

  • Working Backwards: the development process of writing a Press Release and Frequently Asked Questions (PR/FAQ) document to clarify customer benefit and align stakeholders, before beginning development work.

  • Most Amazon Hiring Mechanisms: behavioral-based hiring against specific values, with a group of employees and a defined bar-raiser.

  • Disagree and Commit: explicitly identifying decisions where employees can move faster by stopping discussion, committing to a plan, and supporting it actively.

  • Business Reviews: conducting regular operational or product management reviews to evaluate status of each function, and ensure they are improving over time.

As I started my business, Day One Innovation, I originally planned to consult with and train company executives on how to run their businesses using Amazon’s most useful mechanisms, including those above. Although I still think that would be helpful for many organizations, I realized that the primary reason companies are interested in replicating how Amazon operates is they want to innovate better.

They want to create new markets. They want to delight their customers. And they’ve seen Amazon do this successfully time and time again. Instead of looking to a major consultancy, like McKinsey, PWC, Deloitte, etc., who would charge them millions for generalized theories and studies, they want to instead take the best practices from a proven model, with available experts around the globe they can hire or consult with.

So, what I’ve done over the last few months is taken my Amazon experience and combined it with innovation theory. This has enabled me to create a straight-forward framework and training for executives to understand what innovation is, how to build a culture that enables it, and leverage the most useful best practice mechanisms Amazon has created. It’s an actionable approach where leaders can begin applying the concepts to their organization immediately.

I still do focus on the Amazon mechanisms that are useful, provided with context and pros and cons where applicable. I also provide guidance on how to implement the mechanisms, and consult over time with companies who are attempting to transform to be innovation-inspired. If you are interested in this service, reach out! I can guarantee you will learn something and improve your innovation abilities!

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